As last week’s post suggested, here are another half dozen ways to rework the ever-present loaf of day-old bread.
7. German Dumplings
Known in Deutschland as “Semmelknoedel,” this traditional Bavarian dish is similar to Jewish matzo balls and Italian gnocchi except they are made with bread crumbs instead of matzo meal or potato. The dumplings are commonly made using stale rolls, but feel free to experiment with other types of days-old bread. Serve the dumplings in a bowl of hot beef, chicken, or vegetable broth for a comforting semmelknoedelsuppe, or cover with a savory mushroom or tomato-based sauce. Try the simple recipe for semmelknoedel here.
8. Soften Brown Sugar, Marshmallows, or Keep Cookies Fresh
Many Depression-Era grandparents already know this timeless tip for reviving sweet treats or keeping them fresher longer. Add a slice of bread to hardened brown sugar to soften it, or keep a slice in a bag of marshmallows or with homemade cookies to keep them from drying out quickly.
9. Absorb Excess Moisture from Cooked Rice
Cooking rice is an art. I never seem to master the exact water to rice ratio, or sometimes I’m just too impatient to let all the water cook out. If you find yourself with a pot of fully cooked rice and too much moisture, remove the pot from the heat, put a slice of bread on top of the rice, and replace the lid. Wait a few minutes, and the bread will absorb all the extra water, leaving you with perfect rice.
Bread in pie? Why not? Fresh or stale bread crumbs can easily be added to thicken quiches and effortlessly pump up the volume of soufflés. This lemon pie originates from England during the early 19th Century. The bread mostly acts as an inexpensive filler and thickener; as an added bonus, it also keeps the pie crust from becoming soggy. Here’s a simple lemon meringue pie using bread crumbs. http://www.reciperascal.com/lemon-pie-with-bread-crumbs/
11. Odor Eliminator
If a whiff of cut onions, cooking cabbage, or burnt food sends you running for the window, try using a slice of stale bread to absorb the smell. Mold a piece of bread around the handle of knife as you chop onions to absorb the odor that makes your eyes water. When cooking cabbage, Brussels sprouts, other strongly scented foods, or if you just forget about a cooking food until it’s past the point you can honestly call it “Cajun style,” try adding a slice of bread on top of the food. Leave it sit for a food minutes, and your nose will thank you.
12. Bread Soup
Many people dunk bread into their soup—why not just make the bread part of the soup? When cooler weather strikes, warm up with a comforting combination of bread and broth, a popular yet homely specialty in the Mediterranean. Bread soup may have gotten a bad rap in the French/Danish film, Babette’s Feast, but today’s versions are intensely more flavorful and just as easy to make. This Tuscan favorite, called pappa al pomodoro, blends day-old bread with tomatoes, fresh basil, and garlic for a hearty lunch or dinner. Try the New York Time’s recipe for papa al pomodoro here.